UPDATE 1-Mexico telco regulator may rule on Televisa bid

* Regulators meet again on Monday

* Pending ruling on Televisa-Nextel bid
(Releads; adds source quote, details on meeting from head of
Cofetel, byline)

By Cyntia Barrera Diaz

MEXICO CITY, Aug 16 (BestGrowthStock) – Telecommunications
regulators in Mexico reconvened on Monday to continue
deliberations over broadcasting giant Televisa’s bid to enter
the mobile phone business after failing to rule on the issue
last week.

Cofetel, Mexico’s telecoms watchdog, was expected to rule
on Friday on whether it would grant Televisa and its partner,
wireless operator Nextel, a 30 megahertz nationwide block that
can be used for mobile phone service.

But the vote was called off after two of the board’s five
commissioners failed to show up, indicating a division about
whether to grant the frequency to Televisa and Nextel.

A source familiar with the situation told Reuters a
gathering started Monday morning, but could not say how many
commissioners attended.

“In recess, after a first round of three and a half hours,”
Cofetel President Mony de Swaan posted on his Twitter account.

Televisa and Nextel raised eyebrows with its joint
$14-million bid, only a fraction of the $400 million rivals
America Movil (AMXL.MX: ) (AMX.N: ) and Telefonica SA (TEF.MC: )
offered when they bid for another slice of the mobile
spectrum.

Some politicians have complained the auction was set up to
allow Televisa and Nextel to low-ball their bid. The venture
revived criticism that government officials are beholden to
Televisa, which has a 70 percent market share in broadcast
television in Mexico.

But the government has stood behind the auction arguing it
will promote competition in the mobile phone market.

One of the Cofetel commissioners excused himself from
attending the Friday meeting, saying in a letter he has opposed
the way Mexico’s mobile frequency auction had been structured.

The venture of Nextel, a unit of NII Holdings In (NIHD.O: )
and Televisa (TLVACPO.MX: ) (TV.N: ), was the only group eligible
to bid for the 30 MHz nationwide block because of rules capping
the amount of spectrum any one operator can own.

While Cofetel could vote on the matter with only three of
its five commissioners, it said last week it wanted to have the
entire board present to rule. The board’s decision must be
approved by Mexico’s Communications Ministry.

Televisa has committed to buying 30 percent of wireless
operator Nextel for $1.44 billion if their bid succeeds. It
plans to develop a 3G data services network, allowing it to
compete directly against America Movil and Telefonica.
(Reporting by Cyntia Barrera Diaz; editing by Missy Ryan,
Derek Caney and Andre Grenon)

UPDATE 1-Mexico telco regulator may rule on Televisa bid